Manchester City may have risen to the upper echelons of the Premier League in the past few seasons, but the team’s success on the pitch hasn’t made an impact where it really matters, in Google’s rankings.

In fact a new study that analysed the search visibility of the 20 Premier League clubs found that Man City lie in sixth place, while unsurprisingly Man Utd top the table.

Searchmetrics used its SEO Visibility tool to measure how prominently and frequently each teams’ website appeared in Google UK search results.

Man Utd achieved the top score of 44,954, followed by Arsenal (42,784) and Liverpool (32,176). Man City came sixth but had a relatively low score of 14,974. 

Searchmetrics also measured the clubs’ visibility on the major social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Scores are based on how often content from a website is shared, liked or tweeted.

Chelsea is actually the top-performing club in this category with a score of 50.3m, followed by Man Utd (32.6m) and Arsenal (22.2m). Man City come is in fourth place despite the fact that it has invested a great deal in social marketing.

At a recent conference Man City’s digital innovation consultant Richard Ayers said that the club was aiming to create native experiences within Facebook rather than simply using it to drive traffic elsewhere.

He said the challenge is to avoid pushing out corporate brand messages, so instead the club has created a Facebook timeline that engages fans through content such as an advent calendar, fancam, live stream Q&As and a shirt competition.

However, these stats suggest that it still has some work to do before it can match the reach of rival clubs. 

Another interesting point that became apparent while writing this post is the dreadful usability of the top clubs’ websites.

Many of them interstitials or splash pages that try to sell you something before you can actually enter the site.

Liverpool’s is particularly bad as the most prominent link is an ad for a credit card – where do you go if you want team news?